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First State Bank celebrates its 100th anniversary in October. Each month until then, the bank plans to donate $5,000 to a different local nonprofit to celebrate good people doing great things in the county. The first recipient is the Macomb Charitable Foundation for the work they do helping homeless children.

First State Bank announces donation as part of centennial celebration

Apr 17, 2017 (St. Clair Shores, Michigan)

Shelly Penzien worked in New Haven schools when she noticed certain kids coming to class without socks or coats. A little research found they were kids whose families were living day-to-day.

So Shelly did what she could, initially by making sure the neediest kids at least had a Christmas. Three decades later, Shelly’s foray into philanthropy has grown into the Macomb Charitable Foundation, which assists hundreds of homeless or poverty-stricken children each year.

It’s not just about Christmas anymore. Far from it. Nowadays, the foundation helps with food, clothing, rent, utilities, school supplies, car repair—whatever it takes to help kids who desperately need a break.

It’s not just Shelly either. Now president of the Macomb Charitable Foundation, she’s joined by hundreds of other volunteers. All work tirelessly to meet the organization’s mission—helping children living at or below poverty level in Macomb County.  Working alongside Shelly on a daily basis is her Board of Directors:  Tracy Kowalski, Julie Standlick, Julie Wright, Sue Schwark and Wayne Oehmke.

In recognition of the Macomb Charitable Foundation’s impact on the community, First State Bank is privileged to announce a donation of $5,000 as part of its centennial celebration.

Like the Macomb Charitable Foundation, First State Bank operates in Macomb County. Founded in 1917, the bank will observe its 100th anniversary in October. Each month until then, the bank plans to donate $5,000 to a different local nonprofit. Honorees are nominated by bank employees and customers and are evaluated according to community impact. First State Bank is currently welcoming nominations from the community of good organizations doing great things in Macomb county to honor as the year progresses.

Macomb Charitable Foundation was nominated by First State Bank employee, Janet Robertson. “They do a fantastic job here in Macomb. They help supply families in need with the necessary things in life:  food, clothing and essentials that we take for granted every day. No child should ever have to go to school hungry or unkempt because they and their family had to sleep in their car the night before because they had nowhere else to go.” 

“It’s an honor to have the Macomb Charitable Foundation in our community,” says Gene Lovell, First State Bank’s president and CEO. “We’re delighted to support an organization that cares about this community as much as we do.”

“As our first recipient, the Macomb Charitable Foundation is especially deserving,” Lovell says. “They do a remarkable job of reaching out to kids who need a helping hand.”

A surprising number of youngsters aided by the foundation are homeless. Some estimates place the number of homeless children in Macomb County as high as 1,500. They live in shelters, motels, even vehicles.

Founded in 1983, the Macomb Charitable Foundation gets an average of 25 requests for help each day—from teachers, churches, social service agencies, even kids themselves. Volunteers review the letters and determine how the organization can best help.

Assistance goes beyond food, shelter and clothing to encompass things like diapers, dental care, eyeglasses, bedding, laundry vouchers and summer camp. The foundation also boosts children’s esteem by helping with school-related services such as tutoring, band instruments, field trips and athletic fees.

There’s no government funding. All money comes from donations and fundraisers. Since the foundation is run solely by volunteers, every penny goes to help kids. Volunteers put in countless hours raising money, making home visits, mentoring kids and working the phones.

“Macomb Charitable Foundation is proud to be the first recipient of First State Bank’s Centennial Celebration donation!” says Shelly Penzien, president of the Macomb Charitable Foundation. “Our volunteers are hardworking individuals who want to see all children in our community succeed. By providing children who are at poverty-level or are homeless with the things that their parents cannot, we remind them that they matter, that they have not been forgotten. Thank you First State Bank for validating our efforts and recognizing the heart of Macomb County is very large indeed!”

 “There’s no question that people are the heart of our community bank,” says Lovell. “We’re committed to serving our community because we’re committed to taking care of our community. Our success is directly tied to that of our area neighborhoods and businesses that surround us. And being a locally-owned bank that people have trusted for one hundred years, is a true testament to the way we do business.”

First State Bank was named “Best Bank” by Macomb Daily readers from 2011 to 2016 and Corporate Citizen at Macomb County Business Awards for 2014 and 2015.

First State Bank is headquartered in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. With 100 years of service and $692 million in assets, First State Bank serves Macomb County with 11 branch offices located in Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, Eastpointe, Macomb Township, Richmond, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Washington Township, and Loan Centers in Sterling Heights and Farmington Hills. For more information, please visit or call 866-372-1275.